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Microbiological safety and quality of Italian donkey milk

Mottola, Anna, Alberghini, Leonardo, Giaccone, Valerio, Marchetti, Patrizia, Tantillo, Giuseppina, Di Pinto, Angela
Journal of food safety 2018 v.38 no.3 pp. e12444
Campylobacter coli, Cronobacter sakazakii, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, ass milk, asses, bacteria, chemical composition, children, coagulase positive staphylococci, dairy protein, farms, food safety, foodborne illness, functional foods, functional properties, human health, hygiene, hypersensitivity, laws and regulations, microbiological quality, milk, monitoring, nutritive value, pathogens, plate count, raw milk
Considering that few data are currently available about donkey milk microbiological quality and given the spread of food‐borne outbreaks strongly linked with the consumption of raw milk, the aim of the present study was to investigate the microbiological quality and the food safety of Italian donkey milk. Total viable count (TVC) and coagulase‐positive Staphylococcus were evaluated to verify the process hygiene criteria for donkey's milk. The presence of Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Cronobacter sakazakii, E. coli O157, and Campylobacter spp. were evaluated to estimate its food safety criteria. The study revealed that the TVC values were compliant with European legislation. Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Coagulase‐positive Staphylococcus and Cronobacter sakazakii were not detected. However, the presence of E. coli O157 and Campylobacter coli was observed, highlighting an important health‐related issue, underlining the need to implement an adequate control plan by performing intensive and continuous monitoring in order to guarantee human health. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Donkey's milk is considered a “pharmafood” due to its nutritional, nutraceutical, and functional properties. Indeed, it has been configured as a valid alternative foodstuff for children affected by cow's milk protein allergy, atopic, and inflammatory diseases due to its distinct chemical composition and consequently particular nutritional properties. However, undesirable pathogens responsible for food‐borne diseases harmful to humans have been detected. High hygiene standards should be followed along raw milk chain to avoid potential hazardous pathogenic bacteria spreading to consumers and microbiological parameters and criteria need to be established in raw donkey milk for human consumption. Specific sanitary control plans are required for authorized dairy donkey farms.